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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

Book 6
1991 Pages   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11    12    13    14 

1991 - Page 1

New Chairman of British Coal

Lord Haslam retired as Chairman of British Coal (1983-1991). J Neil Clarke was appointed Chairman from 1st January 1991-1994.

John H Northard CBE, (4954) an ex Director of North Derbyshire Area was appointed Deputy Chairman of British Coal, for 12 months from 1st April 1991. Ken Moses CBE (8366) Technical and Strategic Planning Director. Albert Wheeler (7349) was appointed Director of Operations. National Surveyor & Minerals Manager, Keith Leighfield (ex Chief Surveyor South Wales).

Albert Wheeler (7349) was awarded the CBE in the New Year’s Honours list 1991.


The Select Committee’s Report on Safety in Coal Mines was published.

On 14th January the Coal Mining Subsidence Bill was read. Also a Property Division was created 5 Regions, based at Eastwood Hall the ex Estates department.

Output Records

The record weekly output at Clipstone was broken again on 23rd February 1991, when 36,100 tonnes was produced, and for year ending March, the 15th one million (1,044,000 tonnes) was turned with less than 1,000 men. Ollerton produced 1,450,000 tonnes for the year 1990-1991 with 975 men. Annesley Bentinck produced 1,557,000 tonnes (record 55,000 tonnes at 5.35 tonnes OMS one week in Feb 1991); Rufford 1,020,000 tonnes. Welbeck produced a European record output on 31st March 1991, with 43,711 tonnes from 211s Parkgate advancing face at 2.2m thick. Dosco SL120 Roadheaders were used in both gates. A champagne breakfast was held to celebrate the event. For the second year in succession over 1.5m tonnes were produced with 1,504,800 tonnes. Harworth produced 1,740,000 tonnes for the year. At Thoresby, production for the year 1990-1991 was 2,407,567 tonnes at an OMS of 8.53 tonnes, and a weekly output of 66,081 tonnes, with 1,130 men. This was the maximum yearly output for any colliery in this region and it is doubtful if this will ever be exceeded. All Nottinghamshire pits.

At Markham (North Derbyshire), a record 62,405 tonnes was produced in a week in April 1991, the previous best being 60,630 tonnes. 1,750,000 tonnes was produced in the year. 18,616 tonnes from an advancing face in the Piper seam, 1.15m thick, supported by Gullick Dobson 5 x 200t chocks.
At Asfordby (Leicestershire) 509m of bolted roadway drivage was completed in 4 weeks, including 181m in one week using Joy 112CM11 and Joy 105C11 machines. The previous record had been held by Welbeck (Nottinghamshire) with 154m in December 1990.

Manpower at Bevercotes (Nottinghamshire) was reduced to 972 men. It was certainly proven as is shown that more coal could be produced with less men with improved machinery and efficiency.

Rescue Stations

Denis T Childs (9940) succeeded Keith R Screen (8939) as General Manager at Mansfield Woodhouse Mines Rescue Station 1991-1993. Mansfield Woodhouse Superintendent Jim M Muir; Chesterfield P Moffatt-Weighand; Ashby-de-la-Zouch G Shields. Assistant Operations Director Terry T Clarke (9950) was now based at Eastwood HQ.

Fatal Accidents

For the year ending 31st March 1991 there were 3 fatal accidents in Nottinghamshire: - one at each of Calverton, Harworth and Silverhill pits. (see at each colliery resumé at closure )

Further Output Records

Sherwood (Nottinghamshire) output record reached 30,700 tonnes for week ending 27th April 1991 breaking a 3 year old record.

Welbeck (Nottinghamshire) produced 43,711 tonnes from 211s advancing Parkgate face awarded the European record. 50,000 tonnes was needed in the final week to produce 1.5m tonnes in a year.
At Welbeck soothing music was relayed to the pithead baths by Radio Welbeck and a woman’s soothing voice said ‘take care’. This Safety slogan probably helped to keep the pit free from 3 day accidents. That is where a man is off work more than 3 days following an accident.

The Biggest Conveyor Drives In Britain

Two large conveyor drives at 1,000hp were installed at the 1in5 Fourth drift at Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) with steel corded belting at 48” (1.22m) wide, the biggest in Britain.

Dumping of Coal

In May 1991 the Coal Minister David Heathcote-Amory MP (Con) was accused by Jimmy Hood MP (Lab) (Clydesdale) (at one time NUM President then Branch Secretary at Ollerton) of dumping of coal by China and USA. Energy Secretary was John Wakeham MP (Con).


A 7m package including 700hp heavy duty panzer motors and Dosco MD 1100 twin head road headers were installed at Annesley (1,150 men).

Final Year For Mining Engineering Students

In May 1991 the final group of 28 mining students completed their course at Nottingham Polytechnic to achieve HND in Mining Engineering. There was to be no more of these courses, after 103 years of continuous tuition.

Yorkshire Record Advance

A National record of 105 yards (96m) of heading was achieved at Frickley in June with a maximum of 21 yards (19m) advance in one day (South Yorkshire Area).

Chairman Of British Coal Visited Clipstone

In June 1991, Neil Clarke Chairman of British Coal visited a Yard seam face at Clipstone (Nottinghamshire). He was accompanied by the Colliery Manager John A Daniels (9068) (awarded MBE in July for serving 30+ years at Clipstone in the capacity of workman, Undermanager and Manager).

UDM Conference

The UDM Conference was held at Weymouth over 3 days in June.

Passports For Contractors

The first Contractors Passports giving information and a photo for each individual was put on computer and was piloted at Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) in July 1991.

Licensed Mines

Licensed Mines in operation:

  • Amber Valley (Floyd Coal Ltd), Jackson’s Lane Pentrich, Manager E Hartshorne, Blackshale
  • Doe Lea, Heath, Manager, J Mitchell, Top Hard, 15/1
  • Moorside, Manager, D Amatt, Parkgate, 11/3
  • Strathfield, Manager, E Hartshorne, Tupton, 8/4.

Opencast Sites

Opencast Sites in operation: Central North Region, Managing Director Roy Proctor; Chief Land Surveyor Gary Bardill (previously Deputy Surveyor Thoresby).

  • Crown Farm 1½ miles (3km) North West of Chesterfield, Silkstone and Ashgate seams
  • Dixon 2 miles (3.5km) North East of Chesterfield, Chavery Upper, Chavery Lower, Sitwell, unnamed seam, Deep Hard rider, Deep Hard, 1st Piper, 2nd Piper, Cockleshell, Tupton, Threequarter, Blackshale, Ashgate, Mickley Thick, Brampton High and Brampton Low
  • Godkin site, 1m North of Heanor, 1st Waterloo, Waterloo marker, 2nd Waterloo Upper, 2nd Waterloo Lower, 3rd Waterloo, 4th Waterloo, 1st Ell, Brown Rake, Top Soft rider, Top Soft, Roof Soft and Deep Soft
  • Rainge, South of Clay Cross, Clay Cross Soft, Deep Soft, Deep Hard and Piper.

HM Inspectorate

HM Inspectorate of Mines:

  • Principal Inspector:
    • Ken L Twist (9499)
  • District Inspectors:
    • Norman Revell
    • MJ Keresley
    • J Robert (Bob) Leeming (11373)
      The number of inspectors had reduced accordingly as the number of pits diminished.


In July 1991 the Coal Mining Subsidence Bill incorporated into law British Coals own Code of Practice and received Royal Assent. The Coal Mining (Subsidence) Act, 1991 gave the right to claim compensation for damage at the surface caused by coal mining operations as previously in the Act of 1957.